Peter Murray


As part of our Planning for 10 million series, Colin Wilson Strategic Planning Manager (Greater London Authority) and Ismail Mulla Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Manager (London Borough of Enfield) returned to the hardy perennial of London Society debate, whether the Green Belt should be sacrosanct, or whether land within it can be given over to other uses. Barry Coidan reports. 

London’s Green Belt had its beginning in the 1880’s. Lord Meath, a major philanthropist and social reformer, believed that city growth was leading to national degeneration. He proposed the provision of numerous open spaces for recreation and exercise in over‐crowded working‐class areas. Meath founded the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association, a major Victorian environmental organisation, and originated the idea of a green girdle or belt round London as a sanitary, health device. The London Society in 1913 was involved in the development of the idea – Green Lung for London as well as a policy of urban containment.

The Green Belt is 515,000 hectares, a quarter of which is within London’s outer boroughs. In the current London Plan the Mayor strongly supports the continued protection of London’s Green Belt along with that of the Metropolitan Open Land. So how do you provide housing, jobs etc for an ever increasing London population and yet retain this Green Belt? This is the conundrum Colin and Ismail sought to address in their talks.

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